Michael Pearce

Hurry up October

The gradual changing of foliage from summer to fall colors is only one of many things that makes October seem so appealling during the summer’s extreme heat.
The gradual changing of foliage from summer to fall colors is only one of many things that makes October seem so appealling during the summer’s extreme heat. File photo

Come on October.

It's your days, and nights, I most crave during these times of triple-digit heat and heat indexes.

Of course I'm looking forward to my ducks in the mornings, bowhunting bucks in the afternoons weeks of November, but right now I'm really craving October.

It's usually sometime within that month that it gets cool enough to wear my favorite camo hoodie, the one that hasn't seen the outside since the early days of spring turkey season.

Sometime during that month we'll probably have a decent frost, which will set back the local mosquito population and slow the growth of my lawn's grass.

To me, it's possibly the prettiest month in Kansas. By mid-October the prairies have turned to their fall russets, purples and yellows. Poison ivy leaves and sumac will be brilliant red and a week or so later the first of Kansas' thousands of cottonwoods will turn as yellow as a ripe lemon. As the month progresses we see the autumn colors continue to spread, first to the maples and other softwoods and finally to hardwoods like bur and red oak trees.

There's never a shortage of things to do, either.

Early October may be one of the most productive fishing times of the year, with wipers crashing topwater lures and flies at most reservoirs and largemouth bass feeding heavily before winter in most ponds and lakes.

Though the hunting is not prime for anything, it seems to be good for about everything.

Every year I need to make it out a cool morning or two or three with a good scope-sighted .22 for squirrels. After the mid-month, opening weekend rush subsides at Cheyenne Bottoms or the McPherson Valley Wetlands I'll make it to one or both for some low plains early zone hunting for teal and other early migrants.

And October is when I first really start to think about hunting for deer. I stay out of my best stands, normally, waiting for the joys of the November rut to arrive. Still, in October I'll go sit a few times just to enjoy being out in the woods, maybe taking a doe that's plump from nearby soybeans or the acorns that fall from the trees with each gust of wind.

Compared to the all-day sits of November bowhunts, and the sometimes hectic times of firearms season when I'm trying for a few does to fill our freezer, October deer hunts are certainly the most relaxing of the year. It’s time when I don’t feel guilty for getting out of the stand in time to watch a football game on TV, or spend the afternoon working in the yard with m y wife.

But as I type this, it's on a day when it's supposed to feel like 110 degrees outside in the afternoon. Last night's rain brought out enough mosquitoes to keep me out of our garden for a few days, too.

It's too hot to fish, too miserable to work in the garden and too just plain icky to do anything that will help get ready for deer season.

Hurry up October, but be sure you slow down a bit in September so I can enjoy a few good hunts for doves and for teal before you arrive.